Over the past decade, bulk buying has significantly increased in popularity, with more and more consumers purchasing large quantities of their favorite household items and groceries from stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club. More recently, Amazon has gotten in on the action with services like Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh, adding convenient, affordable bulk grocery shopping services to its already impressive list of Amazon Prime features. It has never been easier or more convenient to buy large amounts of what you need most in an effort to save money. But before you run to the nearest big-box bulk shopping center and plunk down your paycheck on a stockpile of goodies, it’s important to know that not all bulk purchases are created equal. Here are 3 tips to make sure you are getting the most out of that membership and receiving maximum bulk-buying benefits with minimum damage to your wallet.
Since the purpose of buying in bulk is to lower the overall cost per unit, you want to make sure you’re only investing in mass quantities of things you’ll actually use. If you are a family of three, for example, the odds are good that you won’t actually get through that entire 8-pound box of strawberries before they start to spoil (unless, of course, you freeze them- more on that later). For this reason, it’s best to stick to the non-perishable grocery items, or dry goods, that can be stored for years at a time. Any household or laundry items, such as detergent, dryer sheets, paper towels or toilet paper, as well as any non-perishable foods like cans of beans, uncooked pasta, and protein bars, fall into this category. Be warned, though- many non-perishable food items still have expiration dates, so it’s best to calculate how many items you actually use in a year before shelling out for a bulk package.
Prior to embarking on your bulk-shopping journey, make sure you have ample freezer space waiting for you at home. This could either mean investing in a deep freezer cabinet, or simply cleaning out your freezer to make space for new items. Either way, when it comes to bulk grocery shopping, your freezer is your best friend. Meats, fruits, veggies and more can easily be frozen and stored for up to a year, giving you the edge on savings.
Pro tip: Package and freeze your bulk groceries in small amounts; this way if you only want to thaw a small amount at a time, you don’t have to sacrifice the remainder of the frozen food.
Much like the aforementioned freezer space you’ll need after a bulk-buying mission, it’s important to have enough storage space in your home to accommodate large boxes and packs of household goods. If you live in a small apartment with little or no cabinet space, or if you don’t have access to a pantry, utility room, garage or basement, you might want to think twice about taking the bulk-buying plunge, unless you don’t mind having a living room with boxes of tissues stacked up to the ceiling!
Got any more great tips for buying in bulk? Share them in the comments section below.